It is situated 120 km from Cusco sheltered in a mountainous cradle bathed by the Vilcanota river and surrounded by a magical green silence, which converts it into one of the world's most beautiful architectural monuments. Also considered as a vital energy generating site, Machu Picchu (2,400 MAMSL) is admirable for the sturdiness of its edification, balance use of space and harmonious integration to its natural surroundings. The local people had known these ruins for long, as in 1902, Juan lizarraga had left an inscription in the windows temple, as proof of his presence there.
In 1911, when Hiram Bingham got, to the Vilcanota Valley (Sacred Valley of the Incas ), in the intertwined vegetation of mandorpampa, the farmer Melchor Arteaga told him that, way up there, on Machu Picchu Mountain, there were important architectural remains and that, in order to reach them, one would have to climb up slopes covered by thick vegetation, Binghan listened, skeptical, as he was aware of innumerable myths that ran about lost citadel in Peru. But finally, he ended up making his decision and insisted in being taken to the mentioned remains. Once on top one of the children of the two families who lived on these mountains, accompanied binghan to the site where these impressive constructions laid covered by thick tropical vegetation, abandoned for centuries.
Machu Picchu has two big important areas: to the south, the agriculture area is made up of terraces, aqueducts, etc. To the north, the urban area is the city with its temples, observatories, workshops, and sacred burial plots. There are three ways to reach Machu Picchu: by helicopter (30 minute flight), by train (4 hours to Aguas Calientes), and through the trekking route known as the "Inca Trail" (a three day journey). The Inca trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most spectacular routes in the world, part of the 23,000 kilometers of road that the Incas built all around South America.
The climb to the Huayna Picchu is another highlight in this magical place one the name Huayna Picchu means "young mountain", compared to Machu Picchu "the old mountain". From the top of the young mountain you have an extraordinary view of the Machu Picchu complex and of the path that leads to the terraces on the edge of the abyss as well as of some small ruins of temples. Beyond the myths, Machu Picchu is the testimony of the knowledge and the greatest artistic expression of the Incas. This city catches the attention of all its visitors who admire its magnificent beauty.
This is the more popular of the two optional mountain treks but it also can be very crowded. 200 people start climbing between 7am-8am, and 200 people start between 10am-11am so in total 400 people climb every morning. The trail is quite steep and takes about 1.5 hours to climb up and down - people who have trouble with vertigo may not enjoy this trek. There are some interesting archaeological ruins on the top of Huayna Picchu mountain. This is a difficult climb in the wet season as trails are muddy and slippery.
This hike is less popular than Huayna Picchu but no less beautiful. Machu Picchu mountain is located on the other side of the ruins from Huayna Picchu. There are 500 passes available daily. You can begin your climb between 7 and 11am. The trail is less steep than Huayna Picchu but it is a longer hike (takes about 3 hours total).
Check this amazing link out for views from the Huayna Picchu mountain and Machu Picchu mountain (it will open with the Huayna Picchu mountain, click on the right side of the picture and the other views will open)
If you have long time to visit Machu Picchu, you can do the hike to Machu Picchu such as Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu which is the most famous trek to Machu Picchu, in case there aren't any spaces available.